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UNFC and Mineral Resources

Sustainable material flows are the mainstay of the global economy intimately connected to all other socio-economic activities. Sustainable management of global mineral resources is both critical for ensuring the security of supplies and pivotal for successful delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Countries with significant activities in mining experience various socio-economic risks in utilizing their natural resources. These risks usually arise primarily from the periodic volatility in commodity prices, rising environmental issues in developing depleting grades and escalating the social concerns. Effective long-term and sustainable development and management of mineral resources are a pressing need in many countries.

 The mining industry is increasingly viewed as “depleting” industry, and there is growing opposition to this activity all over the world due to environmental concerns. Some of the opposition is a legacy of the past where industries operated under less stringent regulatory requirements.

Today, mining activities are required to perform to higher standards with more transparency and requirements of structured sustainability reporting, often applying the best practices of a circular economy. More efficient communications with a wider spectrum of stakeholders have become a necessity.

The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) is the only universal standard that considers all the necessary processes for holistic development of the minerals sector enabling it to deliver both significant process efficiencies and socio-economic gains.  

UNFC has been bridged to CRIRSCO (Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards) Template.

The Geological Surveys of Finland (GTK), Norway (NGU) and Sweden (SGU), the Swedish Association of Mines, Minerals and Metal Producers (SveMin) and Petronavit a.s., have prepared a draft “Guidance for the application of UNFC for mineral resources in Finland, Norway and Sweden”. The document is intended to assist preparers to produce UNFC inventories and support the users by clarifying how UNFC can be used to facilitate policy and strategy formulation, Government resources management, industry business processes and capital allocation, the four principal areas of application of the UNFC.

The African Union has adopted the African Mining Vision (AMV) to provide policy coherence for the sustainable development of its natural resources.  UN ECA and AU through the newly established Africa Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) are considering adopting UNFC as a unifying system for the entire African continent, with support from UNECE.

Minerals Working Group

A Minerals Working Group is being established to develop the specifications for mineral resource management.